Inside Sample Mountain – Where Is My Mind Edition

I have a ton of books on the go at the moment, some of which I’m even fully enjoying, but my attention span doesn’t feel like doing any of them so instead I’m diving into my kindle samples pile. Come dive in with me.

The Moonsteel Crown by Stephen Deas

I’d been so-so on descriptions of this recently released book, until the author said it was based on an Exalted homebrew game and my interest levels shot through the roof. Exalted is an RPG whose setting and tone should be considered one of fantasy’s classics, and that it is little known is a travesty. The Moonsteel Crown however reminds me far more of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay to begin with its focus on cold, miserable, uncomfortable poverty (not that Exalted is short of grit). There’s one moment of wonderful high fantasy from the main character, Seth’s, imagination though. I like Deas’ voice. I’m not sure this definitely my thing, but I’m going to give it a punt.

The King Must Die by Mary Renault

A semi-historical account of Theseus from 1958, republished recently in one of the various classics ranges. That means it comes up with a long foreword chewing up sample space. I forget whose steer even brought me here, but they know their business. There is a lyrical harshness to it, clean and sharp, reminding me of Henry Treece or Rosemary Sutcliffe. Clearly Mary Renault belongs in their company – or perhaps they belonged in hers – and I shall keep this book in mind next time I’m feeling the mood to go down this path.

For the Killing of Kings by Howard Andrew Jones

I’m on a bit of a roll here. Again, I’ve no idea how this sample found its way onto my kindle, but there’s something enticing about this opening. There’s an epic quality to it, a sense of mystery. I wish there was more of a sense of fantasy conceit and the prologue is perhaps a bit too drenched in mystery, but I still think I trust the author to tell a rollicking story. Into the interested bin.

The Brightest Fell by Nupur Chowdhury

I picked up a sample of that after the author messaged me on Goodreads asking if I would be interested. I didn’t reply because I’m terrible at that, but I did grab a sample to have a look. This is a political Sci-Fi thriller and even if I didn’t know that from the title and the blurb, I’d know it from the prose. It has the unmistakable, small things, professional things, almost stream of consciousness thing that typifies the genre for me. It’s almost too like all the other books in that genre but, well, I’ll still stick this in the interested bin. When’s the last time I actually liked four openings in a row? Half past never?

Earth Logic by Laurie J. Marks

Ah, now this. I got this because someone on twitter posted this was the sort of book art that they loved – or maybe it was their book art – and I saw it

And figured anything with blacksmiths and strong attractive blondes and an 80s vibe was worth a shot for me. So I downloaded the sample, and there it is in kindle with a different far less enthusing cover. Anyway. This is about the words, not the cover. It starts with a short myth about Raven being a dickish trickster, which is very much a happy spot, and that sense of primeval mystic continues right into the opening chapter. Yes, I might read this in the future too.

Race the Sands by Sarah Beth Durst

I think I picked up the rec for this at _ The Book in Hand _ | Reading my way through a thousand worlds… (certainly Sam has a very favourable review). I loved the idea of something about fantasy sports – racing, in this case – plus hope and optimism. However, on reading it, there’s a definitely modern twist to the writing that I think will appeal to some but not me right now. Since I’m not in the right mood for this, I’m going to put it to one side for a little.

Imaro by Charles R. Saunders

The list of people and posts that have recommended Charles R. Saunders to me is long, but maybe not as long as it should be. Let’s check this out for myself. This is definitely aged – I don’t think you would be able to sell something with this exposition heavy a start today, at least not easily – but do you know what hasn’t aged? My tastes. I’ll read your exposition. There’s a straight forwards precision to the prose, a hint of a world where danger can be both subtle and obvious, and, well, that Heroic/S&S feeling. You know straight away that individuals face mighty dangers and do mighty things in Saunders’ world. Charles R. Saunders was already on my list of authors to look at this year, and that hasn’t changed.

That’s it for this time. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get to all these books but if I could clone myself a few times, I’d like to; this has been a good batch and the only miss is a mood thing as much as anything.

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